Federal agents and Seattle Police on Thursday swarmed a Seattle business accused of committing “their crime on your dime.”
Agents served a search warrant at the Mekong Rainier Supermarket at 3400 Rainier Avenue South.
KING 5 News has learned that agents from the United States Department of Agriculture accuse the business of trafficking in food stamps. That means the store has allegedly been paying cash for food stamps, typically 50 cents on the dollar, but redeeming them for full price from the federal government.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe they would do something like that. They seem like good, honest people to me,” said longtime customer Chad Silva, as he watched the police activity around the grocery store.
There were no arrests Thursday and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle did not comment. Our calls to the Mekong Rainier Supermarket went unanswered.
State investigators from the Department of Social and Health services were also on scene. Steve Lowe, the head of the Office of Fraud and Accountability, said his office is investigating food stamp clients who may have traded their food stamps for cash. The feds will investigate the merchant fraud.
Last month the federal government announced that it was revamping food stamp policies after the KING 5 Investigators revealed widespread fraud in the state and federally funded program.